Wright County Board Minutes

NOVEMBER 19, 2019
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Vetsch, Husom, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Husom moved to approve the 11-05-19 County Board Minutes. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
The following item was petitioned to the Agenda:
- Matt Treichler, Chief Deputy Sheriff, added Consent Item H2, “Approve Memorandum Of Agreement Between WCDA (Wright County Deputies Association) & Wright County To Establish Ten (10) Hour Work Shifts For Patrol Staff Deputies And Sergeants In The Bargaining Unit.”
Borrell moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Daleiden moved to approve the Consent Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0: ‘
1. Claim - Madden, Galanter, & Hansen, LLP, September 2019, $16,469.89
1. Set Committee Of The Whole Meeting On 12-03-19 @ 10:30 AM RE: Lobbying Services
1. Authorize Signatures On Contract For Professional Services Of Guardianship And/Or Conservatorship
1. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between October 30, 2019 And November 12,2019
2. Approve Renewal of 2020 Tobacco Licenses For:
A. City Of Albertville: Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #2412; E-Cig Ebacco, LLC DBA EBacco;
B. City Of Cokato: DG Retail, LLC DBA Dollar General Store #10460; Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #1647; ‘
C. City Of Maple Lake: DG Retail, LLC DBA Dollar General Store #15392; H&H Outdoor Outfitter & Sports Shop, Inc. DBA H&H Sport Shop;
D. City Of Montrose: DG Retail, LLC DBA Dollar General Store #16105; Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #3601;
E. City Of Rockford: DG Retail, LLC DBA Dollar General Store #18158; Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #2156
F. City Of St. Michael: W&S, Inc. DBA Corner Bar
G. City Of Waverly: Mid-County Coop DBA Mid-County Holiday Of Waverly; Waverly Municipal Corp.
1. Refer To December 18, 2019 Personnel Committee: Approval of .5 Social Worker Position
2. Position Replacement:
A. Public Health Nurse
1. Accept And Authorize Signature On 2020-2021 MPCA County Feedlot Program Delegation Agreement Work Plan
1. Accept The Findings And Recommendation Of The Planning Commission For The Following Requests to Rezone:
A. JEROME & DELORES HANCE - (Chatham Twp.) Commission Unanimously Recommends Approval Of The Request To Rezone From AG General Agricultural And S-2 Residential-Recreational Shorelands To R-2a Suburban-Residential And S-2.
B. JAMES PETERSON - (Victor Twp.) Commission Unanimously Recommends Approval Of The Request To Rezone From AG General Agricultural To R-1 Urban-Rural Transitional
2. Accept The Findings And Recommendation Of The Planning Commission Public Hearing Held November 7, 2019 And Adopt Ordinance Amendment Number 19-6. Language Changes To Section 155.081(A) Parking As Follows:
Amend § 155.081(A) Parking:
(A) Surfacing and drainage. Off-street parking areas shall be improved with a durable and dustless surface which may include an aggregate material or similar treatment. Such areas shall be so graded and drained as to dispose of all surface water without damage to adjoining property. These requirements shall also apply to open sales lots. The Planning Commission may require the use of asphalt, concrete or other aggregate material as part of a conditional use permit. Durable and dustless surface may include crushed rock and similar treatment for parking accessory to one-, two-, three- and four-unit residential
1. Position Replacement:
A. Deputy
2. Approve Memorandum Of Agreement Between WCDA (Wright County Deputies Association) & Wright County To Establish Ten (10) Hour Work Shifts For Patrol Staff Deputies And Sergeants In The Bargaining Unit.
Cancellation Of Public Hearing Scheduled For 11-19-19 @ 9:30 AM, Proposed Assessment, 10684 US Highway 12 SW, Waverly MN
Kelly was notified by the Attorney’s Office that the proposed assessment has been paid and the Public Hearing is no longer required. No action is necessary.
Resolution Accepting A Restricted Donation To The Wright County Sheriff’s Office From The Monticello Lion’s Club
Treichler stated the Sheriff’s Office received a donation of $5,400 from the Monticello Lions Club for the purchase of body armor vent cooling kits for patrol vehicles. Borrell moved to adopt Resolution #19-111 accepting the donation. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Approve The Removal Of Benefited Acres On County Ditch #10 Due To An Error In The Viewer’s Report
Matt Detjen, Agricultural & Drainage Coordinator, said when meeting with Ditch Viewers on Ditch 10, errors were discovered in the Viewer’s Report. The parcels are being charged benefit for both Judicial Ditch #15 and County Ditch #10. Those that prepaid their assessments will be issued a refund. The financial implication is about $2,000, and the County will need to designate additional funding next year.
Potter moved to approve removal of benefited acres on County Ditch #10 due to an error in the Viewers Report for the following PID’s: 218-000-022200, 218-000-023100, 218-000-034400, 218-000-023300, and 218-000-034100. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Schedule An Informational Meeting With Landowners Regarding The Redetermination Of Benefits On County Ditch #16 And #19 For January 14th At 5:00 p.m.
At the request of Detjen, Husom moved to schedule a Ditch COTW Meeting for County Ditches 16 and 19 for 1-14-20 at 5:00 PM. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Consider Further Action On Citizens’ Complaint Regarding 21st And 25th Streets NW In Chatham Township.
Asleson said the County Board received a complaint about a year ago on the condition of 21st and 25th Streets NW in Chatham Township. It was winter before there was the ability to schedule a hearing. Chatham Township hired an engineer and work was completed on the roads in the spring. The work was reviewed by the County Highway Department and it is the opinion that the roads are in reasonably decent shape as compared to other township roads throughout the County. Asleson and Husom have not been contacted by the petitioners since the work has been completed. Husom said the roads were originally constructed when there was a low volume of traffic. Now traffic has increased because of development and there are also large delivery trucks that frequent the roadways. Asleson recommended the Board consider the matter resolved and the complaint dismissed.
Potter made a motion to consider the complaint regarding 21st and 25th Streets NW in Chatham Township to be resolved with no further action warranted and to dismiss the complaint. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Potter moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. Lake Charlotte – Lake Martha Subordinate Service District (SSD) Finance Discussion
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy County Attorney, said Commissioner Michael Potter, Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala and he attended a public information meeting in August at Rockford Township Hall for land owners within the Lake Charlotte – Lake Martha Subordinate Service District (District). This District is self-supporting. The only people who can pay for the sewer project are land owners in the District. The County General Fund cannot be used for that purpose. Asleson said there will be a shortfall in 2020 in the dedicated trunk for this district.
The Auditor/Treasurer’s Office and Asleson have monitored this fund for several years. Some residents are still paying on the original twenty-year assessment through 2021 or 2022. Asleson recommends adding a supplemental assessment at the end of the original one as a three- or five-year assessment to make up the shortfall. Residents would not start paying on the supplemental assessment until after the first one ends. Asleson said land owners may also pay a lump sum if they prefer. An engineering firm did the original financial projections with the City of St. Michael. Unfortunately, new development was slow, the real estate market experienced a down turn, and more people prepaid at the outset, so the interest earnings were less than expected.
Hiivala said the County issued bonds at the time for this project. The Bond Council had anticipated certain revenue from people paying the assessment off over time, but that did not transpire.
Asleson said the County will probably have to advance money to pay the 2020 and 2021 bond payment and then collect it from people in the District. One of the suggestions from the August public information meeting was to establish an advisory committee or task force comprised of residents. That is his goal today. Asleson asked for suggestions from the County Board regarding the size and makeup of this proposed committee. It is ultimately the Board’s decision. There are currently 165 properties connected to the system, and about 200 properties in the District. Some are vacant land, and some are in Phase 2 (larger parcels, functioning septic systems, but not on the lake).
Asleson said the bond was refinanced in 2011 or 2012. Hiivala said he met with one of the lake associations and proposed a $1,000 assessment with no interest for three years. The land owners were more receptive to that idea, but wanted an advisory board established to discuss it.
Asleson will send out a mailing to the District asking for volunteers for the proposed advisory committee, and provide a structure for its composition.
Hiivala said the estimated total shortfall is $443,255. He suggested levying $1,000 per parcel for each of the next three years. The cash flow would be in time to make sure there are adequate funds to pay the debt service. The County may not commingle funds with the District.
Asleson recommended that the proposed advisory committee for the Lake Charlotte – Lake Martha Subordinate Service District include two representatives from Lake Martha, two from Lake Charlotte, one person who does not live on the lake, one County Commissioner, and one Township official. He will bring the results back to the County Board. Potter agreed to serve on the advisory committee.
Hiivala said the County will pay the debt service and determine how to assess it.
Recommendation: Asleson will mail Lake Charlotte – Lake Martha District Subordinate Service District land owners asking for volunteers to serve on an advisory committee. The suggested composition includes two representatives from Lake Martha, two from Lake Charlotte, one property owner from the District who does not live on the lake, one County Commissioner, and one Township official.
II. Remote Access and HHS Call Center
Matthew Fomby, Information Technology Director, provided an update. On 7-23-19, the Information Technology Department (IT) was tasked with creating a call center solution for the Health & Human Services Department (HHS). His purpose for this meeting was to clarify where the IT Department is headed with these two projects.
Fomby said HHS needs a new call center and has staff who work remotely. Once the call center is functional, the individuals working remotely will need to be able to connect to Government Center computer infrastructure to access files and services. IT is working with HHS and talking to two vendors about creating and implementing a call center structure that would allow HHS remote staff access to County files. This includes routing calls and providing information and services to customers.
Fomby said funds for remote access have already been allocated in the Capital Improvement Plan. He assured the County Board that IT is determined to save the County money. No firm solution has been arrived at yet, however, very good possibilities exist in the marketplace. The call center and remote access functionality are intrinsically linked. Fomby said they need to make sure that the call center software may be expandable to other departments. Mark Kellogg, IT Technical Services Manager, said all options are on the table, and IT is waiting for specific requirements to determine whether they will pursue a hardware or cloud-based solution. Fomby said since the funding is designated, IT will begin to execute as soon as possible.
Fomby’s goal is to have a remote access solution in place by the end of the year. Remote access is established technology. The call center is more complex. He will bring an update to the Technology Committee in the near future regarding the call center and remote access.
Recommendation: Informational only.
(End of 11-05-19 COTW Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, the following change was made to the minutes: Page 1, Recommendation 1, should read, “Kelly will draft a response to the request for tax abatement by the City of Otsego, and cancel the public hearing scheduled 11-19-19 unless a lower amount could be considered” (Borrell). Borrell moved to approve the minutes as amended and the recommendations. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. Property Tax Abatement Program with Otsego
Darek Vetsch, County Board Chair, said the City of Otsego increased the abatement amount from $300,000 to nearly $500,000 for Phase 1 of the project. The payback on $500,000 is 15 to 16 years. Phases 2 and 3 are necessary to get an 8-year payback or less. Vetsch said the County should receive a higher administrative portion of the abatement, such as 15 to 20 percent, due to the longer payback and internal costs.
Michael Potter, County Commissioner, said a protocol for these requests should be established. Vetsch said the County is abating the infrastructure so that retail can go in. Robert Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said payment will come from taxes paid on the retail. Vetsch said the original discussion centered around abating this project for three to six years. Now the discussion is 8 to 16 years, with Phases 2 and 3 being speculative at this point.
Christine Husom, County Commissioner, said the County should decide whether to create an Economic Development Authority (EDA) before embarking on this abatement project. Vetsch said the County will have to make improvements to the infrastructure before the end of the payback of 14 to 16 years. If the County abates the full $500,000, Phases 1, 2, and 3 would need to be completed in the first five years to be paid back in seven or less years.
Borrell said the economics aren’t there. Potter said it isn’t prudent to set a precedence when the full impact is not known. He suggested inviting a policy analyst to provide information on the benefits and challenges of tax abatement. Vetsch said a solid process is needed to dictate when the County will or will not abate. He does not want to set a public hearing if the County Board has no interest in the abatement. Vetsch said he also would like to address the EDA option. Kelly said a Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) might be a viable option as well.
Kelly said the official request from the City of Otsego will come at the end of the week. He will draft a response on behalf of the County and cancel the public hearing set for 11-19-19. Asleson said the County should let the City know prior to 11-19-19. Vetsch said the economic development process and how that affects future liquidation of the existing Government Center structure should be discussed at a Committee Of The Whole meeting in January 2020.
1. Kelly will draft a response to the request for tax abatement by the City of Otsego, and cancel the public hearing scheduled 11-19-19 unless a lower amount could be considered.
2. Schedule a Committee Of The Whole in January of 2020 to discuss the economic development process and how that affects future liquidation of the existing Government Center.
II. Communication Specialist Interviews (second round)
Second interviews for the Communication Specialist position were held with all County Board members present.
Minutes submitted by Deb Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 11-06-19 COTW Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Husom. Potter said that at some point, positions that relate to grant funding or program reimbursement become the responsibility of the County. When these types of requests are considered, the impact should be budget neutral when the source of funding ceases. Husom said the Personnel Committee vetted the request. The motion carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
Social Services Manager, Michelle Miller began the meeting by handing out a Budget Amendment Form (attached) which included the justification for the request to reclassify the HHS Supervisor position.
Miller stated that there has been a vacant Child Support Supervisor position since September. Previous discussions have taken place about adding a Social Services Supervisor over the past couple of years.
Kimberly Johnson, Financial Services Manager explained that there are two full-time Child Support Supervisor positions in her area and since the vacancy of the one supervisor position, her division has been able to coordinate the additional work responsibilities and feel that they are no longer in need of two supervisors in this area.
Miller commented that given the large number of programs that supervisors are required to oversee and manage in the social services area that their goal is to maintain an appropriate workload balance. The ability to maintain a proper workload balance helps to provide high quality services for constituents and will allow for overall better planning of the services being provided. Miller added that they have met with the Health & Human Services Director, Jami Goodrum and she has given her support for proceeding with the request for reclassification.
Commissioner Chris Husom inquired on how this change would impact the budget. Miller noted that although the budget adjustment form shows the Social Services Supervisor is at a higher pay grade than the Child Support Supervisor that there is a difference in the reimbursement rate for the two positions. The reclassification of the position would be considered a neutral budget adjustment considering they will not be asking for an additional FTE. She also commented that there is enough funding within the personnel budget to cover the projected costs and there are also potential revenue opportunities for this position in the future that could offset any cost.
Lee Kelly, County Administrator recommended that the budget amendment form be used to track changes and make the necessary adjustments to the 2020 budget.
A discussion was had regarding the preliminary budget. Kelly commented that it is a snap shot in time and may have included the salary of the now current vacancy CSS, which for the wage data in 2020 could be considered as a budget neutral adjustment. Schawn Johnson, Human Resources Director and Lori Pawelk, Assistant Human Resources Director confirmed the projected salaries under the proposed Compensation and Classification Study to ensure the projected wages would be cost neutral in the 2020 budget.
Minutes Submitted by: Kathleen Brannan-Merritt
(End of 11-06-19 Personnel Committee Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Husom moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. Safety Committee Orientation Training
Dahl explained that all employers with more than 25 employees are required to establish and maintain a joint labor -management safety and health committee pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 182.676. Dahl also explained that Wright County has been working with Integrated Loss Control (ILC) to update the County’s overall Health and Safety program. Holmquist stated Wright County triggers 27 OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliance programs, each program has a subset of forms/tasks, required training, record keeping and annual review. Holmquist explained the workplan contained within the new e-module will help the committee create a sustainable program, develop a check list of tasks to meet compliance requirements, and to see a return on the committee’s investment.
Holmquist presented to the group a “Safety Committee Orientation Training” PowerPoint (attached). Main asked if a county-wide safety suggestion box should be created directing questions to the Risk Manager. Consensus from the group was to have staff report safety concerns to their immediate supervisor first, before escalating the safety related item(s) to the Risk Manager or committee level.
Dahl and Holmquist proposed having a mix of standing and new committee agenda items such as reviewing accident/incident reports and injury/illness data. The Committee will also develop and adopt a mission statement, goals, and objectives. Husom requested a short mission statement, followed by a purpose statement. Dahl proposed meeting quarterly. Vergin proposed meeting monthly and to create a committee Share Point page.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Approved creating a committee Share Point page and meeting monthly, starting in January 2020.
Minutes submitted by Tim Dahl, Risk Manager
(End of 11-06-19 Safety Committee Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, the following changes were made to the Workshop Minutes:
- Page 1, Item III, last sentence should read, “If the costs were shared it was estimated that each party would contribute an amount not to exceed $35,000” (Daleiden)
- Page 2, Item IV, 5th paragraph, last sentence should read, “Potter also noted that he would like to have former WCEDP Director Heidi Pepper come and speak to the Board, perhaps in January” (Potter)
Potter moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. Agricultural and Drainage Inspector
Ag and Drainage Coordinator Matt Detjen addressed the Board regarding the current contracted positions, Agricultural Inspector and Drainage Inspector. During the 2020 budgeting process a shared position, referred to as Ditch Inspector, was proposed to be shared between the Park and Recreation Department and the Auditor/Treasurer department, and would replace the current contracted positions. However, this position was not approved. Detjen provided additional information to the Board in support of revisiting this position. Discussed the ability to utilize buffer grant monies to assist in supporting the shared position. Tasks that could be performed by this position would no longer need to be contracted out, creating a savings to the County.
Recommendation: Retain the current contracted positions, Agricultural and Drainage Inspectors, for 2020. Move forward with pointing this position. Bring back a budget amendment identifying the revenues and expenditures tied to this position.
II. Otsego Tax Abatement / Economic Development (Topic added to the agenda)
Otsego will be holding their public hearing this evening, November 12. Commissioner Vetsch stated that he would like to have the Board consider 90% abatement and retain 10% for administration. The County will need to define parameters, set policies and procedures that they will only assist with infrastructure costs, not buildings. Board was in consensus with the 90% abatement and 10% administration. The County will be holding their public hearing on this matter on November 19, 2020.
III. Fairgrounds Crack Sealing and Surface Sealing
Dennis Beise of the Wright County Fair Board was present to request 100% assistance from the County for the fairgrounds paving improvements. County Engineer Virgil Hawkins provided the County Board with information as to where the improvements are needed and estimated costs for those improvements. Hawkins noted that due to a very good quote, the Fair Board had proceeded with crack sealing last week. Hawkins reminded the Board that these are estimates, they will need to get actual quotes. If the costs were shared it was estimated that each party would contribute an amount not to exceed $35,000.
Recommendation: Cost of the paving improvements will be shared equally between the County and the Fair Board. Administrator Kelly is to report back to the County Board as to where the County’s share of funding can come from.
IV. Economic Development
Administrator Kelly stated the discussion today is whether the County wants Economic Development to become a county department or if should be its own entity. There are options of an EDA, an HRA, or a partnership, like we have now with Wright County Economic Development Partnership (WCEDP). Commissioner Potter stated that the current WCEDP Director, Duane Northagen is leaving, so appropriate time to be discussing this matter.
Kelly Hinnenkamp, Annandale Administrator, serves on the WCEDP Board, stated that the WCEDP Board does not want the Partnership to go away, what they would like to see, is to be more competitive in this market, by being able to offer better wages for the Director position. It’s a partnership, the county, cities and townships within the County, as well as other private members. If the County could offer insurance benefits to this position, they could be more competitive.
Commissioner Vetsch stated this would be similar to what the County does for SWCD, provide the benefits but not a county employee.
Northagen stated that he feels his wages are at 75% of what the market is. Wants to see the County in a good position, and to do that need to pay competitively, do not want to be a training ground.
Commissioner Potter noted that there is WCEDP meeting on Friday, November 15 here in C118., at 8:00 AM. The Board was authorized to attend this meeting already. Agenda will be sent to Administrator Kelly and he will distribute to the Board Potter also noted that he would like to have former WCEDP Director Heidi Pepper come and speak to the Board, perhaps in January.
Recommendation: Staff bring back the legalities of how we can provide benefits and schedule a time for Ms. Pepper to come and speak to the County Board.
V. Legislative Topics / Lobbying Services Departments are submitting legislative topics for discussion to Administrator Kelly. We want topics that are specific to Wright County. So far HHS, Highway and Parks have submitted items. HHS Director Goodrum Schwartz noted that their two items are the Dental Health Center and MN Choices.
Discussed drainage policies. Need to make our legislators aware of these issues. Attorney Kryzer stated that the County should allocate some time to our lobbyists for this matter, as well as John Kolb with Rinke Noonan. They would be able to testify and jacket the bill for Wright County.
The meeting with the Legislators is scheduled for Tuesday, January 28 at 1:00 PM.
Recommendation: Schedule a COTW for December 3, 2019 at 10:30 AM to address Lobbying Services.
2020 Workshop Schedule and 2020 Meeting Calendar
Administrator Kelly stated that a copy of the proposed 2020 workshop schedule and topics had been included in their agenda packet. Kelly questioned if the Board wished to continue with workshops. The Board concurred with the continuation of the workshops. A copy of the 2020 meeting calendar was included in the Board’s packet.
Commissioner Husom questioned protocol when Board members attend township officers’ meetings and provides updates.
Attorneys Asleson and Kryzer commented that the Board can discuss issues, and share their opinions, but would recommend not talking about land use issues that are being dealt with by Planning and Zoning. They also cautioned them to be careful of the open meeting law when a quorum of them are in attendance.
Attorney Kryzer suggested that when posting the meeting to attend the Townships annual meeting the posting should state “Authorize attendance and provide an update of County Business.”
Commissioner Vetsch suggested that Advisory committee updates be at the Workshop meetings, instead of Board meetings. Potter suggested that if it is a quick two sentences then could be done at the Board meeting. Daleiden concurred that committee updates need to be kept short, noting that Sherburne County just identifies those meetings that will be attended.
Attorney Kryzer raised discussion with regards to holding a Board meeting even on Workshop days, even if only for 10 minutes to set meetings, address time sensitive items, but not for controversial matters. Then have the Workshop to follow the Board meeting.
It was noted that March, June, Sept and December all have 5 Tuesdays in 2020. Daleiden indicated that he would not be available for the June 30th meeting, so if possible, would like to cancel that meeting.
Will cancel the June 30, 2020 Board meeting, others will be canceled closer to those dates. A Board meeting will be held prior to Workshops.
Minutes Submitted by Sue Vergin, Assistant County Administrator
(End of 11-12-19 County Board Workshop Minutes)
Kelly stated that the Medical Examiner can be appointed for up to a 4-year period. Staff recommends appointing through the end of 2023.
Husom moved to adopt Resolution 19-112 appointing Dr. Quinn Strobl as the Wright County Medical Examiner for the period of 1-01-20 through 12-31-23. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Discussion included the positive impacts this regional project will have on constituents. Traffic patterns would change dramatically. Over 70% of the workforce commutes out of county.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution 19-113 in support of the bonding request by the City of Maple Grove for the I-94/TH 610 Project completion and the extension of CSAH 610 to County Road 30. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
PUBLIC HEARING - PROPOSED PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENT FOR PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT BY RICE COMPANIES - PID 118-500-221203; PID 118-257-000010; PID 118-257-000020; PID 118-257-001010; PID 118-257-001020; PID 118-500-221205; and PID 118-500-221206
Adopt Resolution Approving Tax Abatement Agreement
At 9:45 A.M., Chief Deputy Auditor/Treasurer Tammi Vaith read a proposed resolution approving the Tax Abatement Agreement. Present for discussion was Nick Anhut, Municipal Advisor to the City of Otsego.
Vetsch understands there is a reserve account that the developer is forming in case the project is put on hold or does not move forward to pay back the abatement costs. He asked whether the County is tied to this reserve account. Anhut stated that the city is negotiating with the developer to include the plat and land use, the development of the property, and security. They are pledging a letter of credit to cover the cost of the public infrastructure, which is what the abatement is being used for to finance. The City is fronting the cost for the infrastructure and construction will occur over the next year. The City will have a letter of credit from the developer to cover expense should the development not move forward. Anhut said the County is not a partner to the development agreement. It is an agreement between the City and the developer and is covering the City’s expense. He said with the Abatement Agreement, the County is not out of pocket anything until the tax revenue is created and the development takes place. If the development does not happen, the County will not be out any money and does not have to contribute to the project.
Borrell said that the developer has taken the County to tax court in the past, and noted the draft resolution does not include language indicating the developer should not challenge the County in tax court if this abatement is approved. Anhut responded that language is contained within the development agreement between the City and the developer. The developer has a series of default provisions. One of those is that they will not challenge below the Assessor’s value for the property, so there will be a minimum assessment. This will be for the term of the abatement. Borrell questioned whether similar language should be included in the County’s resolution. Anhut stated that a minimum assessment requires the County Assessor to be a party to that agreement, so the County will have representation through the County Assessor. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said by statute, any minimum assessment agreement is signed off by the County Assessor. Experience has shown those agreements to be enforceable. Daleiden confirmed it is in included in the agreement between the City and the developer.
At 9:53 AM, Potter made a motion to open the Public Hearing. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0. Vetsch asked three times for public comment and none was received. Daleiden moved to close the Public Hearing at 9:54 AM. The motion was second by Potter and carried 5-0.
Vetsch said this situation involves a developer willing to use their property value and abate it to put in this infrastructure. If this project were not done, in 3-5 years the City and County would work together to get this accomplished. Daleiden said it will add property value and improve the quality of life in that area. He said this would not be happening without the County’s help. Potter said this is unchartered territory for the County. There are pros and cons. Potter said it will be good for the County to develop a policy relating to these types of requests.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #19-114 approving the property tax abatements as listed and authorizing execution of an agreement with the City of Otsego, Minnesota. Tax Abatement Property Description: PID #118-500-221203, PID #118-257-000010, PID #118-257-000020; PID #118-257-001010; PID #118-257-001020; PID #118-500-221205; and PID #118-500-221206. The motion was seconded by Daleiden. Borrell said he supports this action as he would like to see more business and jobs created in his District. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Remove Highway 25 Corridor Coalition From Committee/Advisory Board Listing
Appoint Two Board Members To The CMRP & Add To Committee/Advisory Board Listing
Daleiden made a motion to make the following changes to the Committee/Advisory Board Listing:
- Remove Highway 25 Corridor Coalition from the listing
- Add Central Mississippi River Regional Planning Partnership (CMRP) to the listing
The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Borrell moved to appoint Vetsch and Daleiden as representatives on the CMRP. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Approve CMRP Joint Powers Agreement
Vetsch said an amended budget will be put together for the CMRP to transition into the 2020 budget. They are trying to encompass the 18-month planning process. The draft budget amendment will be reviewed at the 11-20-19 CMRP Meeting. There is the potential of four entities joining the CMRP. If that occurs and the Initiative Foundation increases their funding by $10,000, the dues will remain the same. Municipalities dues will be $15,000. Vetsch suggested the County subsidize the dues for the townships as the planning for the infrastructure does not necessarily affect them.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #19-115 approving the CMRP Joint Powers Agreement. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Husom moved to approve funding CMRP dues for Silver Creek Township and Monticello Township in the amount of $7,500 each, with the funding source being Professional Services. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Potter moved to schedule an Owners Committee of The Whole Meeting on 12-13-19 at 12:00 PM. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Husom moved to schedule a Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 12-17-19 at 10:30 AM. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
1. Annandale Safe Schools Meeting. Husom attended a recent meeting. Vaping use is down. Youth are learning of the health issues caused by use of the product.
2. CMRP. Vetsch will attend a meeting tomorrow where the 18-month draft budget for the CMRP will be reviewed.
3. Trailblazer. Vetsch and Potter will attend a workshop this week.
4. Commissioners extended appreciation and thanks to veterans for their service. The Board did not meet last week.
5. Wright County Community Action (WCCA). Daleiden reported WCCA will host a Tree Walk on November 30, 2019 at the Village Hall in Waverly. Some of the activities include decorated trees, pictures with Santa, readings with Mrs. Santa, and food vendors. The trees will be donated to needy families.
6. Joint Ditch Meeting. Daleiden attended a Joint Ditch Meeting in Dassel. The topic was a new culvert installation to improve lake water quality.
7. Extension Committee. Potter attended a meeting last week. Staff reviews and year end discussion occurred. Information was provided on agriculture. An upcoming Extension workshop will be held for renters and landowners.
8. Rockford Chamber Meeting. Potter said a meeting was held last week where the Wright County Economic Development Partnership and the Technical Center provided information on employment opportunities available through the Technical Center. The Technical Center has an internship program that collaborates with the St. Cloud Technical school.
9. Economic Development Partnership (EDP). Potter and Husom attended a meeting last Friday at the Government Center. Discussion points were the future of the EDP and whether to consider an EDA (Economic Development Authority). To move to the EDA, the County Board would serve on the EDA Board. The consensus was to continue with the EDP. Potter said the current members of the EDP are those in business who understand financing of the EDA. To change would include a steep learning curve for the County Board.
10. Great River Regional Library Board. Potter will attend a meeting in St. Cloud on 11-19-19, where approval of three additional hours for the St. Michael Branch will be discussed (already budgeted).
11. I-94 Coalition. Potter reported that the Coalition was not awarded funding through the BUILD Grant. Funds were not awarded in Minnesota this year. Many of those that did receive grant funding had submittals in the $13-$18 million range.
12. Administrator Updates:
A. Kelly referenced the EDP Meeting held last Friday and said staff is tasked with review of wages and benefits for the EDP Director position. The current Director will retire in the spring of 2020. Kelly said the public sector is unique in what can be done. Additional funding may be needed for the EDP related to the position. An executive meeting of the EDP will be held in December to put together a recruitment package.
13. HealthPartners Clinic. Staff continues to meet with HealthPartners on the potential of a Health Clinic at the new Government Center. HealthPartners has requested a non-binding letter of intent to move the process along.
14. Staff in Administration and Auditor/Treasurer are working on the materials for the upcoming Board Meeting to review the 2020 Budget.
15. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) meetings continue to occur with this week’s with focus on the chart of accounts.
The meeting adjourned at 10:39 A.M.
The Board met in Closed Session following the Board Meeting to receive an update from the County Attorney and Chief Deputy Attorney on the developments and strategy in the opioid litigation.
Published in the Herald Journal Dec. 1`3, 2019.